#pfwg44thbirthday – The Finale!


If you aren’t aware of what #pfwg44thbirthday is, please take a moment to check out the links below.

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It’s a challenge that has been documented for my 44th birthday.  It’s kind of like a television series.  The finale for this season has arrived!  Grab your popcorn, your drink of choice, ice cream, or chocolate and check out the finale of #pfwg44thbirthday!  It turned out pretty awesome due to the help of some friends.

This finale begins with my Mother passing away in August of this year.  A group of some of my closest friends decided instead of giving flowers or monetary gifts as a memorial they would do something different.

Mother and I 2014

I must say this act of kindness has brought much to me personally than I can even put into words.  And along the way it has helped others a well, which is even better!

The ladies chose to hold an American Red Cross blood donation drive in honor of my Mother.  They chose the blood drive because they knew that donating blood was one of my #pfwg44thbirthday challenges for myself.  When they first told me about the plan I could feel my heart just burst and melt at the same time.

These ladies know me.  They get me.  They care about me.  They want to help others and they are really good at it.  The collaboration of these four ladies brought blood to those who are sick or dying, showed God’s love and kindness through each of them, brought strangers together, helped me exceed my goal of 44 blood donations, and honored my Mother’s life all at the same time.

LLL Gals

These friends and I know that they could not have done it without God’s grace and mercy and help.  We do not serve for our own recognition but for what God has placed within us. It’s only through Him that we are able to do these acts of kindness.

Each time myself or someone from the team  donated blood this past year, I have placed a red stone in a candle that another friend gave me.

Red stone display

I am grateful to each and everyone that chose to donate blood and help me on my journey.  Helping others is a key ingredient in bringing meaning to our lives and joy to others I believe.  I’m glad there are others that are willing to do things to bring those results.

Speaking of results, I’m sure you are interested to know where we ended up being.  I’m very excited to announce that we had 51 donations from December 26, 2014 to December 12, 2015!  We exceeded the goal by 7 donations!   WHOO HOO! Happy dance all around folks! This means if each donation helps saves 3 lives, a total of 153 lives were helped!  That is AWESOME!

I also spent the year writing handwritten letters and notes. I reached my goal of 44 this month. I hope to continue writing in 2016!

I am in the process of putting together another birthday challenge for my 45th year.  I will announce it in the near future on my new blog!  Here are some pictures from our great time donating blood!

Grace is a gift,

Julie

 

 

 

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Well folks it’s been fun in 2015 hasn’t it?  I mean we have laughed and shook heads in agreement with Honesty Days, touched base with God in the God’s Grace posts, and walked through grieving another death.

I hope that in my Music to my Ears posts you found yourself dancing while reading, enjoyed some awesome stories about adoption, but most of all I hope my writing inspired you.  Inspired you to do whatever God was leading you to do.  Whether it be through an act of kindness, pray with another, speak of His truth to others, or start a new adventure!  I’m so very glad you have joined me in every aspect of the journey.

I’ve written many times about connecting with others.  I know that between us is some sort of device, but I hope that my words have touched you in a way that has brought you joy.  Writing about my life experiences is a way for me to grow, help others, and deal with whatever is at hand.  I feel fortunate to be able to write in a blog setting.

Does this sound like a good bye?  Well,  don’t worry, I’m not. I’m just taking an extended vacation to focus on family, the holidays, and create a new space for us to meet.  I do have an upcoming very special post in December, just one.  Of course it has to do with #pfwg44thbirthday and you will see if I made my goals!

I pray that your Christmas season is a joyous one and that it holds the true meaning of it all.  Jesus Christ.  May you take time to watch the little ones play, sing, and be silly.  May you see the glimmer in your spouse’s/significant other’s eyes once again, and watch the adult children’s life unfold before you.  Hug and kiss the family too much and eat the good food that has been provided for you, and TAKE PICTURES!  Take moments to be generally kind to the clerk at the store, the elderly one, the ones less fortunate, and the ones alone this holiday season.

May we all encompass Christ’s love and share it too much!  God bless you and I will see you in a few weeks!

Grace is a gift,

Juli

44th Birthday Stats – #pfwg44thbirthday


A Day donating

I thought it was time to update you all on the #pfwg44thbirthday and let you know where I am at on this journey!  As of today there are:

25 red stones in my candle. That means that with the help of my friends I am over half way to my 44 donations!  Only 19 more to go folks! Feel free to join our team and help us reach or exceed 44 donations by December 26, 2015!

Each donation normally helps 3 lives. That means 75 lives have been touched by just giving some blood and time!  Isn’t that awesome?  I could not have made it this far without others helping. I want to say thank you to all of those that have donated so far!

We have six months to collect the other 19 donations and I have mine scheduled for June 26th!  How about you? When is your next time to donate blood?  Find the nearest donation center or blood drive by clicking on Red Cross Blood Donation!

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Now onto the Handwritten Letters challenge!  I am still working on those and have sent out 27 letters.  I have 17 more to go before December 26th.  I do not send the letters until I feel compelled to put words on paper.  Lately they have been lacking but that is because I want them to be true and heartfelt.  I want to lift up individuals and bring a smile to their face when they open their mailbox.

On a side note, my daughter received a McDonald’s gift card in the mailbox with a note telling her to have a super summer!  It brought a lot of joy to the little girl. I’m not sure who it was from and it’s the second one she has received in the past year, but if you read my blog we are thanking you!

If you are unable to donate blood, take a moment to help another by sending an uplifting card or letter.  Call if that is simpler.  Just reach out and grasp the joy and share it today!

Grace is a gift,

Julie

#PFWG44thbirthday – Donation time #3


Well it’s been over 56 days!  I had to push-off our blood donation gig by a week due to a conflict I had.  This go around my husband, sisters, and best friend joined me to get a little closer to the 44 times!  My brother-in-law wasn’t able to donate this time but next go around he will!

group

Check out the photos from today! It took me 60 minutes to drive to our destination to donate and only 5 minutes to fill a bag to help save three lives!  Totally worth it!

#pfwg44thbirthday #3

At this point in the journey with help from my friends, I have been able to place 23 red stones in the blood donation candle!

Blood donation candle

Only 21 more times to go!  Who wants to join our #pfwg44thbirthday team?!  It’s never too late to help save lives!  We only have until December 26th to make this happen! Help me reach my goal by downloading blood donation app and joining our team!  Or if you want, just comment on here when you donate! We’ll throw a red stone in the candle in your honor!

June 20th! That’s our next donation trip!  Come join the fun! It’s always a fun time!  We ended our time together by eating at the Doo Dah Diner in Wichita, Kansas. Totally good food and great way to celebrate the day!

American Red Cross

Grace is a gift,
Julie

It’s Reminder Time Folks! #pfwg44thbirthday


I’ve been kinda quiet lately about our #pfwg44thbirthday series, but don’t worry I’m still working on it!  How about you?  Have you sent any handwritten letters or notes?  Have you donated blood?  Have you joined our team on the Red Cross app?

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Come on!  You know it would be great to help others and bring joy to someone as they reach into their mailbox!  I can’t wait to hear from you all that have joined our #pfwg44thbirthday fun!  Comment below and let me know how this series has inspired you or brought you to help others!

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So far I have sent 13 handwritten notes/letters and we have 8 blood donations!  That’s 24 lives that have been helped! WHOO HOO!

Join the fun if you haven’t!

Grace is a gift,

Julie

pfwg44thBirthday – #1


The day has arrived!  My 44th birthday.  I have a year to fulfill the challenges I chose.  It all started today by my husband, my sister, and I heading to the nearest American Cross blood donation location.

Donate Blood

 On the way I dropped a couple handwritten letters in the mail!  Only 42 more to go!

Handwritten lettersmail

 

As I mentioned before I had not donated blood in many many years.  So it was like starting over, which was totally ok!  I had this great gal named Renee that was a hoot!  Seriously fun, which made the experience even better! They took me to a room alone after I checked in and read through some materials.  Then I answered some questions, she took a blood sample, and we were ready to rock and roll! 🙂

Renee took me to an open room that had several people donating blood and then others that were donating platelets.  My husband was already getting setup. What a great guy!  It was his first time and he was done in no time at all!  Thanks sweetie for helping me reach my goal! My sister, helped as well.  She donated and was done before me as well!  She is in the background of the photo!

 

MV blood donation

 

Renee asked me what arm I wanted to use, and I said the left since I am right-handed.  Well, she searched for a vein and finally found one after use of the blood pressure cup.  She got all setup and began the process.  Unfortunately it didn’t go as planned.  My vein decided not to stick around or up or whatever it is.  Instead of making me suffer or get bruised we switched arms.

JV blood donation

All in all the experience was a great!  I am SO glad I did it!  I will do it as much as I am able to in the next year!  The next time I am eligible is February 20th, so I will be searching for a drive around then or making another appointment at the American Red Cross donation location nearest to me!

donated blood today

 

I hope you will join me in my challenge to help others by donating blood (if you can).  I even setup a team on the Red Cross app, it’s called pfwg44thbirthday.  Together we can make a difference!  Just three of us today helped nine people in the future!  For every pint it helps three people! Isn’t that cool?!

If you aren’t able to donate blood or choose not to, how about sending some handwritten notes of encouragement!  That is my other challenge and I think it would be great fun for all of us!  🙂  Be sure to comment if you are joining us!

Don’t forget to follow us on our instagram, find us!  pushingforwardwithgrace!   I will be completing a photo journal of our year long fun and others that have inspired us!

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Helpful Links

American Red Cross

Download the app on your smartphone, table, or ipad!  Join our team  pfwg44thbirthday!

Pushing Forward with Grace Instagram – Come follow us!

 

44th Birthday Celebration!


This is the post telling you all about the wonderful ideas I’m doing to celebrate my 44th birthday on December 26th. It was hard for me to decide what to do but I finally did!  I received ideas from others and truly appreciate them! I’m using some of them here! In fact, I got a super great one to use during my next Adoption Series in 2015!  So be sure to check back to find out about that little gem in November!

I have decided to do two things.

The first one is that I will write handwritten notes to 44 people and send them starting on December 26th of this year!  My deadline of course is December 26, 2015 to get this accomplished!  Handwritten is the key!  When was the last time you actually wrote a handwritten letter or note. It’s been a bit for me too!  Nothing huge, just a note to someone?  Wanna join me?

The second one is helping others in a more physical way.  I will be donating blood as often as I can starting on December 26th. Unfortunately in the amount of time I have to reach my goal I can’t do it alone.  One can only give blood every 56 days (8 weeks).  That being said I need your help to reach 44! DON’T click away! Hear me out, even if you have never donated!

#1 – I have only donated a few times in my life and it has been YEARS and I mean years since I donated.

#2 – Do it with a friend, I am!  My husband and daughter and sister are going! My daughter really dislikes needles but she’s doing it for her Momma and others! Things are always funnier with partners right?

#3 – You can donate one time  or seven times, it’s up to you!

#4 – Donating one pint of blood helps three people.  THREE people and normally the needle is only in your arm about 10 minutes.

#5 – It’s free.  Seriously.  It doesn’t cost you money, just time.

#6 – You can download a cool app on your phone or tablet.  You can keep track of your blood donations and schedule appointments or find blood drives! It’s seriously easy to use!  Go to playstore or the app store and search for red cross app.  If you like to use your computer go to Red Cross . Or you can call 1-800-733-2767 to find a location or drive near you!  

I bet, if we do this together I can reach my goal of 44 pints of blood donated.  If I was a betting woman I bet we could EXCEED it! 🙂  Who is with me?

Here’s the plan!

Letting me know you are committed.  Commenting below will be the best way for me to keep track of where I am in my goal!  This is a team supported effort folks! Just comment below if you are committed. Once you have written the note or donated blood you can do the following!

NOW the fun part!  I decided for the next year I will be photo documenting this adventure on Instagram too.   So if you are on Instagram, come follow me on there!  It’s under pushingforwardgrace. #pfwg44thbirthday is the hashtag to use! This is where I will be sharing photos of the acts or myself doing the following:

 

Give

I’d like to share your photos as well.  If you would feel comfortable with sharing with us a photo of the difference you made,whether it be of the handwritten envelope, letter, blood being drawn, sticker or snacks provided after donating or even a selfie I’d be happy to share it on the Instagram page. You can email them to betweenthesunsets@gmail.com as well.   Or you can tag us in it and I will repost it on Instagram.

Giving to others, giving of yourself, and inspiring others is essential in living a fulfilling life.  Won’t you join me in touching other people’s lives?

LET’S DO THIS!

Grace is a gift,

Julie